Homemade Creamy Tomato Red Pepper Sauce
Happy 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative and happy #meatlessmonday! Hopefully you are enjoying many a meatless dish tonight, but if you’re out of delicious meatless ideas have I got one for you?!
This one is super simple and delicious. I was actually inspired to make it when eating at Em Chamas (please no nasty comments about getting meatless recipes from a Brazilian barbecue…) They have this fantastic cheese ravioli dish on their buffet made from a sauce of tomatoes and roasted red peppers that was just terrific. Right next to it, they have a tomato-based chicken stroganoff that is light, creamy, and more than a little tangy. So I got the idea to blend them together and make a delicious creamy tomato red pepper sauce.
Better yet, you can make it for less than $11.50 as part of the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative. If you’re not familiar with the challenge, Shawna Coronado grows chemical and pesticide-free (ie nude) vegetables and I turn them into a dinner for a family for four for less than $11.50. Ready for the recipe?
Making Homemade Tomato Red Pepper Sauce
This recipe is done in three quick steps. Bake the tomatoes, roast the red peppers, and mix. You can use jarred red peppers if you want, but I much prefer the fresh taste of red peppers I have roasted myself.
You will need:
- 8-10 red tomatoes, cut in half and deseeded (free from Shawna’s Garden)
- 2 tablespoons salt and pepper (free due to the rules of the challenge)
- 2 tablespoons dried basil (50 cents)
- 3 red peppers, tops and seeds removed (free from Shawna’s Garden)
- 6 tablespoons oil, divided (free due to the rules of the challenge)
- 1 onion, diced ($1.00)
- 2 cloves garlic, diced (50 cents)
- 1 pinch red pepper flake (10 cents)
- ½ cup heavy cream ($2.00)
- 1 package cheese ravioli ($5.00)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and dried basil. Bake 30-45 minutes or until the tomatoes are shriveled and ugly.
While the tomatoes are baking, put the peppers in a plastic bag with 4 tablespoons of oil. Shake well. Cook the peppers (see below.)
Once the peppers are black, put them in a bowl and cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap. (I prefer this over the paper bag for purely sanitary reasons.) After about five minutes, the skin should largely peel off.
Now, into the food processor go the tomatoes and the red peppers. Pulse until they have reached the desired consistency. Some people will want a very chunky mixture. Others will want it smooth. Both are fine.
Last step for the sauce. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and let it get hot. Then add the onions, garlic, and red pepper flake (in that order so the garlic and red pepper don’t burn) and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are translucent. Then add the tomato/pepper mixture and bring to a boil. Let it simmer while you make the pasta.
Last step (I promise.) Make the pasta. Mix. Enjoy!
- If you have a gas burner, you can put the peppers directly on the fire and char the peppers until the outer skin is black. (You will need to turn the pepper 3-4 times.) If you have a grill, you can do the same. If you have neither, you’ll need to use your broiler by putting the peppers on a baking sheet on the highest rack possible and broiling the peppers until they are charred. Again, you will need to turn the peppers 3-4 times during broiling.
- Sometimes you hear that leaving the peppers in the bowl will let the skin just come right off with no effort. Maybe those people have a higher class of pepper or have black belts in roasted red pepper, but I have never had the skin come completely off. There are always little bits that don’t want to come off. So I say, if you are having skin issues, that’s okay. It happens to the best of us.
Thanks to Ross Catrow for the picture.